Although AI has been around for years the true capabilities and potential of this technology are really coming to the fore especially with the recent release of ChatGPT-4 – a fine-tuned version of ChatGPT-3 (an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI).
ChatGPT-4 compared to its predecessor has better-advanced reasoning capabilities, can process more and is multimodal, understanding both words & images. The initial release in November 2022 had more than 100 million users within the first two months of its launch and according to data from analytics firm Similar web, over 1 billion monthly visitors had used ChatGPT in February 2023. This mass adoption from the public has demonstrated how AI can be used in everyday life and can transform our society. Naturally this includes concerns and questions regarding ethics, privacy and the impact of AI on jobs, businesses and humanity as a whole.
According to a recent survey by PWC , more than half (52%) of companies have accelerated their AI adoption plans in the past year. Furthermore, IDC predicts worldwide spending on AI is expected to surpass $300 billion by 2026.
To comprehend the rapid expansion of AI, it’s important to first define what this technology accomplishes. Essentially, AI involves machines imitating human intelligence processes. This allows computers to learn, reason, and make decisions like humans, but with unmatched speed and scale. With the combination of advances in computing power, access to large amounts of data and increasing investments in AI in recent years led by major tech players like Google, Amazon and Microsoft, we can anticipate even more innovative applications and use in the near future.
Business leaders consider AI to be a critical technology for driving business growth and ignoring it could result in falling behind in today’s fast-paced marketplace.
As we navigate this complex and ever-evolving AI-powered world, what steps can we take as leaders?
Embrace technology but keep focused
Today’s Leaders must remain curious and adaptable. While AI can be intimidating, especially for those without a technical background, it should not hinder embracing this technology. You do not need to become an AI expert overnight, but a general understanding of what AI is, how it works, and how you could potentially apply it within your organization is essential.
While AI has gained significant attention, it’s crucial to remember that it’s just one of the many tools available to leaders. It’s easy to get swept up in the hype and feel compelled to implement it in all areas of your organization. However, it’s key to maintain focus on the big picture and think strategically about how and where AI can create value. Don’t utilize AI for the sake of doing so; ensure that it aligns with your organization’s goals and values and you can effectively communicate this to your stakeholders, whether they are employees, investors, or customers.
Begin with small steps and continue to refine
It’s not necessary to fully commit to AI right away. Instead, start small and focus on a particular problem or use case. For instance, you could automate routine tasks like data entry or customer service inquiries using AI. Once you’ve had some success, you can leverage that momentum to tackle bigger challenges. Keep in mind that AI is still a relatively new technology, so it’s crucial to refine and enhance as you go. Don’t hesitate to make mistakes or experiment with things that may not work out. Adopt the Google mentality, where Eric Schmidt stated “We celebrate our failures. This is a company where it is absolutely okay to try something that is very hard, have it not be successful, take the learning and apply it to something new.”
Value human traits and relationships
While AI has incredible potential, it still lacks the emotional intelligence and creativity that only humans possess. As machines continue to perform routine and data-heavy workflows more effectively than us, our ability to build trusted relationships will become increasingly rare. This highlights the importance of focusing on the talent pipeline more than ever before, seeking skills that cannot be automated.
On the one hand, you need to be willing to invest in education and training, cultivate partnerships with experts in the field, and promote a culture of continuous learning and development. On the other hand, you need to reconsider the abilities that are critical in an AI-driven workplace. For instance, human skills such as critical thinking, effective communication, adaptability to technology, and relationships building capabilities will remain valuable and in demand.
As leaders, we must also remember to maintain our humanity and empathy and avoid relying entirely on algorithms to make decisions. Remember, AI is a tool to improve our abilities, not replace them.
Build diverse teams
Leaders must be warned that AI is only as unbiased as the data they are trained on. Any biases or discrimination present in the data will be reflected in the output of the AI system, potentially leading to misinformation and discriminatory outcomes in areas such as hiring, lending, and criminal justice. That’s why it’s imperative to have the right people by prioritizing diversity when building AI initiatives. A well-rounded diverse and inclusive team consisting of not only technical experts but also individuals from different backgrounds and perspectives can help ensure that AI initiatives are fair and ethical.
As we continue to witness the rise of AI, it’s important for leaders to recognize that this technology is not just a passing trend, but rather a fundamental shift in how we operate. To stay ahead of the curve, leaders must be willing to embrace change and adopt a growth mindset. This requires a new kind of leadership that prioritizes agility, adaptability, and encourages experimentation and innovation. By creating a culture of continuous learning and improvement, leaders can build high-performing teams that can effectively collaborate with AI technologies equipping the business to thrive in this new era of technological disruption.
About the Author
Vishal Patel is President of Global Markets of Duke Corporate Education. Leaders are the greatest levers for winning in an unpredictable world. They create the conditions for success with customers, employees, stakeholders and society. Duke CE’s purpose is to help these leaders get ready for what’s next in the midst of uncertainty. We primarily do this through our custom leadership programs, consistently ranked at the top by the Financial Times and Business Week.
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